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Charles and Camilla step out in style for hotly anticipated World War One epic 1917

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Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall attended the Royal premier of war film 1917 this evening.

The Prince of Wales looked dashing in a classic black tuxedo and had made sure to have his shoes shined before attending the premiere at London’s Odeon in Leicester Square.

Camilla also looked glamorous and was wearing a black floor-length gown with a beaded shawl that had a splash of pink.

The 72-year-old Duchess made sure to add sparkle to the outfit and teamed the ensemble with a stunning pendant, diamond-shaped earrings and a bejewelled clutch bag. 

The couple were among the guests at the star-studded event of the hotly anticipated World War One epic by Sam Mendes.

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Charles, Prince of Wales (left) and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (right) attend the World Premiere and Royal Performance of "1917" at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square

Charles, Prince of Wales (left) and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (right) attend the World Premiere and Royal Performance of "1917" at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square

Charles, Prince of Wales (left) and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (right) attend the World Premiere and Royal Performance of ‘1917’ at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square

The Duchess looked delighted as she received a bunch of flowers from a young woman before the start of the film

The Duchess looked delighted as she received a bunch of flowers from a young woman before the start of the film

The Duchess looked delighted as she received a bunch of flowers from a young woman before the start of the film 

The Prince of Wales meets (left to right) Mark Strong, Richard Madden and Andrew Scott, the cast of 1917, during the Royal Film Performance of the film at the Odeon Luxe, Leicester Square

The Prince of Wales meets (left to right) Mark Strong, Richard Madden and Andrew Scott, the cast of 1917, during the Royal Film Performance of the film at the Odeon Luxe, Leicester Square

The Prince of Wales meets (left to right) Mark Strong, Richard Madden and Andrew Scott, the cast of 1917, during the Royal Film Performance of the film at the Odeon Luxe, Leicester Square

From left to right: Jamie Parker, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Krysty Wilson-Cairns, George MacKay, Sam Mendes, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Pippa Harris, Nabhaan Rizwan, Claire Duburcq and Daniel Mays

From left to right: Jamie Parker, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Krysty Wilson-Cairns, George MacKay, Sam Mendes, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Pippa Harris, Nabhaan Rizwan, Claire Duburcq and Daniel Mays

From left to right: Jamie Parker, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Krysty Wilson-Cairns, George MacKay, Sam Mendes, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Pippa Harris, Nabhaan Rizwan, Claire Duburcq and Daniel Mays

Royal visit: Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall made an appearance at the event

Royal visit: Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall made an appearance at the event

Royal visit: Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall made an appearance at the event

Stylish: The Duchess kept her personal items in a dazzling clutch bag and a diamond necklace

Stylish: The Duchess kept her personal items in a dazzling clutch bag and a diamond necklace

Stylish: The Duchess kept her personal items in a dazzling clutch bag and a diamond necklace

The couple met supporters and trustees of the charity and 1917’s Oscar-winning director Mendes, who also wrote and produced the film. 

Camilla, who was wearing a Bruce Oldfield gown, told him and producers including BAFTA chairman Pippa Harris: ‘It’s very exciting, it’s had very good reviews.’

The film will have been particularly poignant for Camilla, as three of her great uncles, Harry, Alick and Hugh Cubitt were killed in the First World War.

They also chatted to its stars George Mackay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Mark Strong and Claire Duburcq.

Asked by the Prince how he was feeling at the premiere, Mark Strong joked: ‘I’ve done a few, I’m getting on a bit!’

Prince Charles watches his wife Camilla as she converses with young children before the premier this evening

Prince Charles watches his wife Camilla as she converses with young children before the premier this evening

Prince Charles watches his wife Camilla as she converses with young children before the premier this evening 

Camilla looked radiant as she clutched on to the flowers she had been given as she smiled

Camilla looked radiant as she clutched on to the flowers she had been given as she smiled

Camilla looked radiant as she clutched on to the flowers she had been given as she smiled 

The royal couple were then presented with programmes by Celia Chapman, the 11 year old sister of Dean Charles Chapman and Issy, eight, whose five-year-old sister Jess gave the Duchess a posy.

The young sisters and their family have been supported by the Film and TV charity.

All three girls curtseyed in turn, prompting the Duchess to say: ‘Oh my goodness, a lot of good curtseys tonight!’

Pointing to Jess’s sparkly silver footwear she told her: ‘I like your shoes!’

It comes just a day after the royal couple hosted US President Donald Trump at Clarence House, before attending a reception at Buckingham Palace for the Nato alliance. 

Other guests in attendance included Richard Madden who looked sharp alongside his chic co-star Claire Duburcq. The actor, 33, was dressed to impress as he stepped out onto the red carpet in a black tuxedo, which he paired with a crisp white shirt and a black bow tie.

Stars: Richard Madden looked sharp in a black tuxedo as he joined chic Claire Duburcq at star-studded London premiere for Sam Mendes' World War One epic 1917 on Wednesday

Stars: Richard Madden looked sharp in a black tuxedo as he joined chic Claire Duburcq at star-studded London premiere for Sam Mendes' World War One epic 1917 on Wednesday

Androgynous chic: French actress Claire was sure to turn heads in her dark red suit, which she paired with a white lace shirt

Androgynous chic: French actress Claire was sure to turn heads in her dark red suit, which she paired with a white lace shirt

Stars: Richard Madden looked sharp in a black tuxedo as he joined chic Claire Duburcq at star-studded London premiere for Sam Mendes’ World War One epic 1917 on Wednesday

Richard completed his look by stepping out in a pair of sleek black shoes, and kept his accessories simple by wearing a designer watch. 

His brunette locks were styled into a slick Pompadour, while he had a close-cropped beard for a ruggedly handsome look. 

Richard takes on the supporting role of Lieutenant Blake in the film, brother to Dean-Charles Chapman’s lead character who is known by the same name.

French actress Claire was sure to turn heads in her androgynous chic look as he teamed a dark red suit with a white lace shirt.

Handsome: Richard's brunette locks were styled into a slick Pompadour, while he had a close-cropped beard for a ruggedly handsome look

Handsome: Richard's brunette locks were styled into a slick Pompadour, while he had a close-cropped beard for a ruggedly handsome look

Handsome: Richard’s brunette locks were styled into a slick Pompadour, while he had a close-cropped beard for a ruggedly handsome look

Chic: Claire completed her look by boosting her height in a pair of black bow-detail heels

Chic: Claire completed her look by boosting her height in a pair of black bow-detail heels

Chic: Claire completed her look by boosting her height in a pair of black bow-detail heels

Glamorous: Claire's brunette locks were pulled back into a sleek ponytail, while she wore a natural palette of make-up for the outing

Glamorous: Claire's brunette locks were pulled back into a sleek ponytail, while she wore a natural palette of make-up for the outing

In good spirits: Claire beamed as she took to the red carpet

In good spirits: Claire beamed as she took to the red carpet

Glamorous: Claire’s brunette locks were pulled back into a sleek ponytail, while she wore a natural palette of make-up for the outing

Co-stars: Richard enjoyed a chat with fellow cast member Andrew Scott at the premiere

Co-stars: Richard enjoyed a chat with fellow cast member Andrew Scott at the premiere

Co-stars: Richard enjoyed a chat with fellow cast member Andrew Scott at the premiere

Animated: The pair appeared to be enjoying an interesting conversation at the event

Animated: The pair appeared to be enjoying an interesting conversation at the event

Chatty: Richard spoke animatedly

Chatty: Richard spoke animatedly

Animated: The pair appeared to be enjoying an interesting conversation at the event

Claire completed her look by boosting her height in a pair of black bow-detail heels, while she chose to forgo wearing any accessories.

Her brunette locks were pulled back into a sleek ponytail, while she wore a natural palette of make-up for the outing.

The actress makes a brief appearance, and portrays an unnamed French woman who is found hiding underground of a bombed-out city. 

Simple: Claire chose to forgo wearing any accessories for the event

Simple: Claire chose to forgo wearing any accessories for the event

Simple: Claire chose to forgo wearing any accessories for the event

Star: The actress makes a brief appearance, and portrays an unnamed French woman who is found hiding underground of a bombed-out city

Star: The actress makes a brief appearance, and portrays an unnamed French woman who is found hiding underground of a bombed-out city

Relaxed: Claire appeared to be in good spirits while on the red carpet

Relaxed: Claire appeared to be in good spirits while on the red carpet

Star: The actress makes a brief appearance, and portrays an unnamed French woman who is found hiding underground of a bombed-out city

Andrew Scott, who plays Lieutenant Leslie in the World War One epic, looked dapper in a red velvet suit jacket which he paired with tailored trousers. 

Adding to the suave look, the Sherlock star wore a cummerbund around his waist and completed his ensemble with a bow tie and brogues.

His raven tresses were brushed into a tousled style, and Andrew chose not to wear any accessories to keep the outfit simple, yet sharp.

Handsome: Andrew Scott, who plays Lieutenant Leslie in the World War One epic, looked dapper in a red velvet suit jacket which he paired with tailored trousers

Handsome: Andrew Scott, who plays Lieutenant Leslie in the World War One epic, looked dapper in a red velvet suit jacket which he paired with tailored trousers

Handsome: Andrew Scott, who plays Lieutenant Leslie in the World War One epic, looked dapper in a red velvet suit jacket which he paired with tailored trousers

Dapper: Andrew's raven tresses were brushed into a tousled style, and Andrew chose not to wear any accessories to keep the outfit simple, yet sharp

Dapper: Andrew's raven tresses were brushed into a tousled style, and Andrew chose not to wear any accessories to keep the outfit simple, yet sharp

Suave: The actor ruffled his hair while taking photos

Suave: The actor ruffled his hair while taking photos

Dapper: Andrew’s raven tresses were brushed into a tousled style, and Andrew chose not to wear any accessories to keep the outfit simple, yet sharp

Sharp: Adding to the suave look, the Sherlock star wore a cummerbund around his waist and completed his ensemble with a bow tie and brogues

Sharp: Adding to the suave look, the Sherlock star wore a cummerbund around his waist and completed his ensemble with a bow tie and brogues

Sharp: Adding to the suave look, the Sherlock star wore a cummerbund around his waist and completed his ensemble with a bow tie and brogues

Looking good: Andrew was sure to set pulses racing as he arrived on the red carpet in his look

Looking good: Andrew was sure to set pulses racing as he arrived on the red carpet in his look

Enjoying himself: Andrew appeared to be in high spirits

Enjoying himself: Andrew appeared to be in high spirits

Looking good: Andrew was sure to set pulses racing as he arrived on the red carpet in his look

Delighted: The actor couldn't help but smile as he joined his co-stars on the carpet

Delighted: The actor couldn't help but smile as he joined his co-stars on the carpet

Delighted: The actor couldn’t help but smile as he joined his co-stars on the carpet

Leading man George kept things simple in a black suit and tie, which he teamed with a crisp dinner shirt and a metal pin bar. 

He was joined on the red carpet by his fellow lead star Dean-Charles Chapman, who viewers may remember as Tommen Baratheon in Game Of Thrones.

The actor also chose to don a black suit for the occasion, and he added a touch of class to his ensemble by wearing a white pocket square.

Must-watch drama: 1917 follows Lance Corporals Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) as they sneak into enemy territory to stop a doomed attack

Must-watch drama: 1917 follows Lance Corporals Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) as they sneak into enemy territory to stop a doomed attack

Must-watch drama: 1917 follows Lance Corporals Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) as they sneak into enemy territory to stop a doomed attack

Suited and booted: Leading man George kept things simple in a black suit and tie

Suited and booted: Leading man George kept things simple in a black suit and tie

Suited and booted: Leading man George kept things simple in a black suit and tie

Well dressed: George teamed his suit with a crisp dinner shirt and a metal pin bar

Well dressed: George teamed his suit with a crisp dinner shirt and a metal pin bar

Well dressed: George teamed his suit with a crisp dinner shirt and a metal pin bar

Leading man: George was joined on the red carpet by his fellow lead Dean-Charles Chapman, who viewers may remember as Tommen Baratheon in Game Of Thrones

Leading man: George was joined on the red carpet by his fellow lead Dean-Charles Chapman, who viewers may remember as Tommen Baratheon in Game Of Thrones

Leading man: George was joined on the red carpet by his fellow lead Dean-Charles Chapman, who viewers may remember as Tommen Baratheon in Game Of Thrones

Dashing: The actor also chose to don a black suit for the occasion, and he added a touch of class to his ensemble by wearing a white pocket square

Dashing: The actor also chose to don a black suit for the occasion, and he added a touch of class to his ensemble by wearing a white pocket square

Dashing: The actor also chose to don a black suit for the occasion, and he added a touch of class to his ensemble by wearing a white pocket square

Dream team: George and Dean-Charles posed on the red carpet alongside director Sam

Dream team: George and Dean-Charles posed on the red carpet alongside director Sam

What a trio: The actors and director looked handsome in their similar ensembles

What a trio: The actors and director looked handsome in their similar ensembles

Dream team: George and Dean-Charles posed on the red carpet alongside director Sam

1917 follows Lance Corporals Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) as they are tasked with a seemingly impossible mission to sneak into enemy territory to stop a doomed attack by the Allied Forces. 

Traversing the dangerous French landscape, the pair must do everything they can to get their message to the powers that be so they can save 1600 soldiers from walking into a deadly trap.

The intense drama is sure to leave viewers on the edge of their seat, as it is shot and edited to look as if it takes place in real time, and as a single long take.

Smart: Mark Strong, who also plays a Lieutenant in the film, looked stylish in a blue velvet blazer which he donned over a white shirt and black trousers

Smart: Mark Strong, who also plays a Lieutenant in the film, looked stylish in a blue velvet blazer which he donned over a white shirt and black trousers

Smart: Mark Strong, who also plays a Lieutenant in the film, looked stylish in a blue velvet blazer which he donned over a white shirt and black trousers

Earlier this year, the director said in a featurette of filming the war epic as one long take: ‘From the very beginning, I felt this movie should be told in real time.

‘Every step of the journey, breathing every breath with these men, felt integral, and there’s no better way to tell this story than with one continuous shot.’ 

Mendes enlisted Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins to shoot the film, who explained that he knew this would be a very ‘immersive’ movie. 

1917 will be released on 25th December 2019 in the US, and 10th January 2020 in the UK.

Out soon: 1917 will be released on December 25 2019 in the US, and January 10, 2020 in the UK

Out soon: 1917 will be released on December 25 2019 in the US, and January 10, 2020 in the UK

Out soon: 1917 will be released on December 25 2019 in the US, and January 10, 2020 in the UK

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News

U.S. officials hid fact Afghanistan war ‘unwinnable’ for 18 years

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US officials repeatedly lied to the public about the war in Afghanistan for its 18 year duration by hiding the fact that it was unwinnable and troops were out of their depth, The Washington Post has claimed. 

In a lengthy article published on Monday, the Post claims that top officials knew the military’s chances were slim but that they routinely hid the grave reality and made ‘rosy pronouncements’ about it instead. 

The cache of documents – dubbed the ‘Pentagon Papers of Afghanistan’ – includes interviews that the government carried out with senior military personnel which the newspaper obtained through a Freedom of Information request. They took place between 2014 and 2018 and contain the comments of nearly 400 people. 

In addition to the interview transcripts, the Post obtained memos dictated by former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld between 2001 and 2006, during the first phase of the war. 

Together, they paint a picture of a confused military who did not know who the ‘bad guys’ were, let alone where to find them or how to defeat them. 

Among the interviews is a 2015 transcript of one in which Michael Flynn, the disgraced former United States National Security Advisor, said: ‘If we are doing such a great job, why does it feel like we are losing?’  

The military personnel also describe how top brass officials distorted data to make it appear as though the US was winning when in fact thousands were being needlessly killed.   

In a lengthy article published on Monday, the Post claims that top officials knew the military's chances were slim but that they routinely hid the grave reality and made 'rosy pronouncements' about it instead. US troops are shown in Afghanistan in August 2018

In a lengthy article published on Monday, the Post claims that top officials knew the military's chances were slim but that they routinely hid the grave reality and made 'rosy pronouncements' about it instead. US troops are shown in Afghanistan in August 2018

In a lengthy article published on Monday, the Post claims that top officials knew the military’s chances were slim but that they routinely hid the grave reality and made ‘rosy pronouncements’ about it instead. US troops are shown in Afghanistan in August 2018

The alleged failures which troops complained about included not knowing what the point of the war was – whether they were there to fight terror or to make Afghanistan a democratic country – and lacking crucial intelligence which would have helped form their strategies. 

John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, whose agency was in charge of the investigation, told the newspaper in light of the unearthed interviews: ‘The American people have constantly been lied to.’  

The alleged failures include; 

  • Nearly $1 trillion wasted; troops said they were expected to spend money with no reason in areas that were overwhelmed by the sudden influx of cash and resources
  • Misguided attempts to build an Afghan army when all their troops were ‘incompetent’ and some were ‘drug addicts’  
  • ‘Fatally flawed’ fighting strategies which put US lives at risk 
  • Distorting data and figures to make it look like the US was winning 
  • Years of false statements to the American people that progress was being made when it was not  
  • Confusion over what the mission was; it started as a war on terror but later priorities became building a democracy and improving women’s rights  
  • ‘Woeful’ deficiency in intelligence from the beginning 

Among the interviewees is General Douglas Lute, who served under Bush and Obama. 

He blamed the 2,400 lives lost in the war to ‘bureaucratic breakdowns’ and said the problems began because the US lacked a ‘fundamental understanding’ of Afghanistan. 

He told government interviewers in 2015: ‘What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking. 

‘If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction … 2,400 lives lost…’ 

Others interviewed by Sopko’s teams described how information and research was skewed to make it appear as though the US had a good chance at victory when in fact it was highly unlikely. 

 Our policy was to create a strong central government which was idiotic
Unnamed official in a 2015 interview with Lessons Learned, part of SIGAR 

Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, said: ‘Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible. 

‘Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone.’ 

He also claimed ‘truth was rarely welcome’ within the Combined Anti-Armor Team and that ‘everyone’ on the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force ‘just wanted to hear good news.’  

Among the major failures troops described was the exorbitant amount of money spent for little in return.They estimate that close to $938billion was wasted on the war.

‘What did we get for this $1 trillion effort? Was it worth $1 trillion? 

‘After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan,’ Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL who also worked in the White House for Bush and Obama,  said in one interview with officials. 

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, known as SIGAR, was launched in 2008 to investigate the war effort for waste and fraud. 

Former President Barack Obama with former Vice President Joe Biden and senior members of government including the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton watch as Osama Bin Laden's compound is obliterated on May 1, 2011. One former SEAL who worked for Obama and Bush said Bin Laden 'was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan'

Former President Barack Obama with former Vice President Joe Biden and senior members of government including the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton watch as Osama Bin Laden's compound is obliterated on May 1, 2011. One former SEAL who worked for Obama and Bush said Bin Laden 'was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan'

Former President Barack Obama with former Vice President Joe Biden and senior members of government including the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton watch as Osama Bin Laden’s compound is obliterated on May 1, 2011. One former SEAL who worked for Obama and Bush said Bin Laden ‘was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan’

THE ‘LIES’ vs WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

‘The history of military conflict in Afghanistan [has] been one of initial success, followed by long years of floundering and ultimate failure. We’re not going to repeat that mistake’ – George W. Bush, April 2002 

A year later, in 2003, Rumsfeld wrote this memo: ‘I have no visibility into who the bad guys are. We are woefully deficient in human intelligence.’ 

‘The days of providing a blank check are over. . . . It must be clear that Afghans will have to take responsibility for their security and that America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan.’  Barack Obama, December 2009 

Later, one senior member of the military said in an interview: ‘The effort was over-funded and lacked data to drive intelligence decision-making. We were burning $400million per month at one point. We lost objectivity. We were given money told to spend it, and we did, without reason.’ 

‘This army and this police force have been very, very effective in combat against the insurgents every single day. And I think that’s an important story to be told across the board.’ – Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, 2013

In 2016, looking back on the training efforts, one soldier said the Afghan Local Police were ‘the bottom of the barrel in the country that is already at the bottom of the barrel’. Others accused them of doing drugs, stealing fuel from US tanks and only turning up for training to ‘get a paycheck’   

‘Are we losing this war? Absolutely no way. Can the enemy win it? Absolutely no way,’ Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, in September 2008 

In a 2015 interview about the conflict, Michael Flynn reflected on how success had been reported falsely since 2002. He said: ‘From ambassadors down to the low level, they all say we are doing a great job. Really? So if we are doing such a great  job, why does it feel like we’re losing?’ 

It had a branch called Lessons Learned which was solely dedicated to identifying decision making failures that could be avoided in later conflicts. 

Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld dictated memos between 2001 and 2006 in which he described the military being 'woefully deficient' in intelligence

Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld dictated memos between 2001 and 2006 in which he described the military being 'woefully deficient' in intelligence

Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld dictated memos between 2001 and 2006 in which he described the military being ‘woefully deficient’ in intelligence 

As part of Lessons Learned, 600 interviews were conducted. 

It, according to the Post, released reports periodically about its findings but left out the ‘harshest’ details. 

At the beginning of the conflict, the report claims the clear objective of the war was to retaliate against al-Qaeda and prevent a similar atrocity to 9/11 from happening. 

However, the military personnel say that as the years wore on, the mission became less clear. 

Some officials started focusing on turning it into a democratic country, whereas others wanted to focus on elevating women’s rights, the report claims.  

One person interviewed by officials compared the conflict to a Christmas tree which, beneath it, had a ‘present for everyone’.  

‘With the AfPak strategy there was a present under the Christmas tree for everyone. 

‘By the time you were finished you had so many priorities and aspirations it was like no strategy at all,’ the unidentified interview said. 

Others described how military bosses did not know who the good and bad guys were. 

TIMELINE OF THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN

2001: President George W. Bush announces strikes on Afghanistan in retaliation for harboring al-Qaeda terrorists blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks. By the end of the year, 3,800 US troops are on the ground. 

US military death toll: 7 

2002: The U.S. ends the year with about 9,700 troops deployed, mostly going after Taliban insurgents. 

The Taliban, they say, is largely dismantled.  

US military death toll: 30 

2003: By the end of the year, 13,000 US troops are on the ground and efforts have focused to ‘restructuring’ Afghanistan. Tensions also flare in Iraq and the Defense Secretary says ‘major combat’ is over.

US military death toll: 33

2004: The number swells to 20,300 as the U.S. builds up forces along the Afghan-Pakistani border and provides security for fledgling reconstruction projects.

The country elects its first president democratically. 

US military death toll: 49

2005: US and Afghanistan renew commitment to working together in the war on terror

US military death toll: 93

2006: Suicide bombings erupt as rebels stage an insurgence. 

US military death toll: 88

2007: Mullah Dadullah, is killed in a joint operation by Afghan, U.S., and NATO forces

US military death toll: 111

2008: The force in Afghanistan rises to 25,000. Still, Iraq is the priority. 

US military death toll:  153

2009: As fighting in Afghanistan becomes more intense, the number of U.S. troops surpasses 50,000. 

President Obama is sworn in, renews dedication to the conflict. 

US military death toll: 310

2010: The bloodiest year for US troops in Afghanistan as the fighting continues with a resurgence from terrorists.

US military death toll: 496

2011: Osama Bin Laden is killed. 

Obama announces his withdrawal plan: Bring home 10,000 troops by the end of 2011, and continue at a steady pace until handing over security responsibilities to the Afghans by 2014. 

US military death toll: 412

2012: Troop levels down to 77,000

US military death toll: 301

2013: Down to 46,000 troops, the slow withdrawal continues.

US military death toll: 120

2014: Obama orders the Pentagon to develop options for a complete military withdrawal, because Afghan President Hamid Karzai refuses to sign a security agreement with the United States. Obama announces his plan to pull virtually all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2016.

US military death toll: 54

2015: Obama changes his mind, saying the situation is too fragile for a total withdrawal. 9,800 troops remain

US military death toll: 10

2016: Obama announces that instead of dropping the U.S. troop level to 5,500, he will keep it at about 8,400 through the end of his term on Jan. 20, 2017

US military death toll: 9

2017: Trump deploys more troops to the region 

US military death toll: 11

2018: Taliban retaliates with violent attacks 

US military death toll: 13

2019: Trump arranges peace talks with the Taliban but calls them off after the death of a US soldier. 

US military death toll: 17

They had trouble differentiating to troops if they should focus on fighting al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other foreign jihadists. 

Some said they did not know whether to treat Pakistan as an ally or foe.  

One unnamed former adviser to an Army Special Forces team admitted not knowing who the ‘bad guys’ were, let alone where to find them.

‘They thought I was going to come to them with a map to show them where the good guys and bad guys live. It took several conversations for them to understand that I did not have that information in my hands. 

‘At first, they just kept asking: “But who are the bad guys, where are they?”‘ he said.

Some of the names of people interviewed were redacted.  

One of the key failures was the US’s ‘idiotic’ attempt to try to establish a government in Kabul modeled after the one in Washington. 

‘Our policy was to create a strong central government which was idiotic because Afghanistan does not have a history of a strong central government. 

‘The time-frame for creating a strong central government is 100 years, which we didn’t have,’ one unnamed official said. 

The US had promised not to try to ‘nation build’ in public speeches from former presidents Bush and Obama. 

However the interviews suggest that is exactly what was being attempted and it was attempted unsuccessfully.

Another failure was an excess of aid which overwhelmed the country and amounted to a huge waste in money.

‘Capitol Hill was always asking, “Did you spend the money? What’s your burn rate?”

That’s all they ever cared about. The effort was overfunded and lacked data to drive intelligence decision-making. We were burning $400million per month at one point. 

‘We lost objectivity. We were given money told to spend it, and we did, without reason,’ one unnamed person said in a 2016 interview. 

One contractor said he was told to spend $3million a day in a district that was roughly the size of the average US county.

He said that he once asked a congressman whether he would be able to spend as much in his district. 

‘When the congressman, who was not named, answered: ‘hell no’, the contractor told him: ‘Well, sir, that’s what you just obligated us to spend and I’m doing it for communities that live in mud huts with no windows.’

Another unnamed interviewee shared his complaint. 

Our strategy was, “Money expended equals success.” 

‘I’d get the s**t kicked out of me at the height of the surge… “why did we say yes to spending money building a 38km road up… why can’t you build this road and you said you could do it…”

‘We’d go see it and we’d fly in and get shot at. Why do you expect us to build a road to an area you can’t secure…. we were supposed to build roads in an area so dangerous that armed US military helicopters could not even land near it,’ he said. 

Because so much money was being thrown at the conflict, corruption was inevitable, according to those interviewed, and the US ‘looked the other way’ while Afghanistan’s leaders took advantage of it. 

‘I like to use a cancer analogy. Petty corruption is like skin cancer; there are ways to deal with it and you’ll probably be just fine.

‘Corruption within the ministries, higher level, is like colon cancer; it’s worse, but if you catch it in time, you’re probably OK,’ 

Christopher Kolenda, who deployed several times, told investigators. 

The US troops complained about the 'incompetent' and 'awful' Afghan forces they were tasked with training, claiming many of them were 'drug addicts', members of the Taliban and merely there to 'collect a paycheck'

The US troops complained about the 'incompetent' and 'awful' Afghan forces they were tasked with training, claiming many of them were 'drug addicts', members of the Taliban and merely there to 'collect a paycheck'

The US troops complained about the ‘incompetent’ and ‘awful’ Afghan forces they were tasked with training, claiming many of them were ‘drug addicts’, members of the Taliban and merely there to ‘collect a paycheck’ 

Readers quickly compared the document dump to the infamous Pentagon Papers which, when published in 1971, detailed how officials had lied to cover up the truth of the Vietnam War

Readers quickly compared the document dump to the infamous Pentagon Papers which, when published in 1971, detailed how officials had lied to cover up the truth of the Vietnam War

Readers quickly compared the document dump to the infamous Pentagon Papers which, when published in 1971, detailed how officials had lied to cover up the truth of the Vietnam War 

‘Kleptocracy, however, is like brain cancer; it’s fatal,’ he said, after describing how President Hamid Karzai and his deputies had ‘self-organized into a kleptocracy’ within the first five years of the effort.   

THE DEATH TOLL

Some of those interviewed said US officials focused only on the number of American troops killed and that though high, it was not the worst-suffering category. 

One official said the true measure of success in the region would have been if the number of Afghan casualties decreased. 

US troops: 2,300

US contractors:  3,814

Afghan security forces: 64,124

NATO and coalition troops: 1,145

Taliban: 42,100

Afghan civilians: 43,074

AID workers: 424

Journalists: 67  

As the Afghanistan government became increasingly corrupt, the interviewees claimed, more people turned to the Taliban for order. 

‘Our biggest single project, sadly and inadvertently, of course, may have been the development of mass corruption.  

‘Once it gets to the level I saw, when I was out there, it’s somewhere between unbelievably hard and outright impossible to fix it,’ former U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker said in a lengthy 2016 interview with investigators.  

Another of the biggest lies, they said, was that the military was helping establish a strong, Afghan army.

In reality, the troops were disorganized, incompetent and uncommitted, they said.

The US soldiers sent to train them said they ‘hated them’ and claimed that one third of the Afghan police force they were told to help were ‘drug addicts’ or ‘Taliban’. 

‘The ALP [Afghan Local Police] members were awful – the bottom of the barrel in the country that is already at the bottom of the barrel. 

‘Vast majority of ALPs didn’t care and were just collecting a paycheck,’ an unnamed soldier said in a September 2016 interview with Lessons Learned. 

Another failure, they said, was their inability to halt the country’s mass production of opium. 

Under the nose of the US military, the Afghan drug trade flourished, the interviewees said. 

Tackling the country’s drug production was never part of the military strategy but the drug lords became more powerful than the government, they claimed. 

The first strategy was for Brits to pay Afghan farmers to destroy their poppy crops but it only inspired them to plant more, the interviewees said. When the US went back to the farmers and told them to destroy the crops again, this time without payment, it enraged them. 

What compounded this failed strategy, they complained, was a lack of communication between British and US forces. 

The Pentagon has not commented on the release of the documents or on the allegations by troops or the Post that it deliberately lied about the situation. 

THE PENTAGON PAPERS – 1971

American troops in Vietnam in 1967

American troops in Vietnam in 1967

American troops in Vietnam in 1967

After the Post’s report became public on Monday, readers jumped to compare it to the release of the infamous Pentagon Papers of 1971 which revealed how the government lied to the public about the atrocities of the Vietnam war. 

The papers were published by The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe in a combined effort of journalism. They had obtained them from Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst who had grown tired of having his concerns about the conflict ignored by members of Congress. 

The government tried relentlessly to block the papers’ publication. It claimed that in sharing them with the public, newspapers were putting national security at risk. 

After The New York Times published a series of stories about the information they contained, the government sought an injunction and the case went to the Supreme Court. 

The ‘papers’ were a government report which had been commissioned four years before they were leaked to the press by the then Defense Secretary, Robert McNamara, and were intended to remain classified.

They laid bare how the US decided to go to war in Vietnam, why and what happened throughout its bloody, 20-year duration. 

By the time they were published, Americans had become increasingly disillusioned with war. Some 500,000 troops had been sent to fight and many were killed. 

The papers contained explosive information spanning four presidencies including that the original goal of the war was not to aid South Vietnam but rather to ‘contain China’, and that President Truman helped France in its colonial war against Viet-Minh which put the US in the center of the conflict in the region. 

The papers were published while Richard Nixon was seeking reelection

The papers were published while Richard Nixon was seeking reelection

The papers were published while Richard Nixon was seeking reelection 

It revealed how President Eisenhower intervened to prevent North Vietnam from imposing communism on the south of the country, and how President JFK pivoted the US’s involvement from one of ‘limited risk gamble’ to broad commitment. The papers also revealed that President Johnson intended to wage overt war by 1964. 

The publication of the papers damaged Nixon’s re-election chances. He tried to discredit Ellsberg afterwards and his efforts were revealed as part of the Watergate Scandal, which eventually brought him down. 

In July this year,  nearly 50 years since the papers became public, the National Archive published them in full.

It wrote, in its announcement of them, that the original leaks were ‘incomplete’ and caused unnecessary problems.

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Pictured: Experienced tour guide killed in New Zealand volcano horror

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A tour guide was today named among five people killed in a New Zealand volcano disaster, with eight others missing, as questions were raised about why tourists were allowed to visit the island.  

Hayden Marshall-Inman was confirmed dead by his brother, Mark Inman, who said the victim had ‘passed away doing the one thing he loved’.   

The tour guide was among 47 people exploring White Island, a tourist island also known as Whakaari, when it erupted with a large plume of ash and steam on Monday. 

Of the 47 people, 34 were rescued from the island and 31 of them remain in hospital, some of them critically injured. Five are confirmed dead, leaving eight unaccounted for.     

British citizens are among those missing or injured, along with New Zealanders and tourists from Australia, the US, China and Malaysia, said New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern at a news conference today.  

Aerial footage showed ‘no signs of life’, according to New Zealand police, who said they do not expect to find any more survivors. 

The disaster immediately raised questions about why tourists were allowed to visit the island, some 30 miles off mainland New Zealand, after scientists had noted an uptick in volcanic activity in recent weeks. 

Ardern said it was a ‘very unpredictable volcano’ and said questions about tourism would be ‘answered by the appropriate authorities’, but said ‘for now we’re focused on those who are caught up in this horrific event’.     

Hayden Marshall-Inman (pictured) was confirmed dead by his brother, Mark Inman, who said the victim had 'passed away doing the one thing he loved'

Hayden Marshall-Inman (pictured) was confirmed dead by his brother, Mark Inman, who said the victim had 'passed away doing the one thing he loved'

Hayden Marshall-Inman (pictured) was confirmed dead by his brother, Mark Inman, who said the victim had ‘passed away doing the one thing he loved’

Friends of tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman (pictured) immediately paid tribute to 'the biggest guy with the biggest heart' and said he was 'one of the nicest blokes I'll ever know'

Friends of tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman (pictured) immediately paid tribute to 'the biggest guy with the biggest heart' and said he was 'one of the nicest blokes I'll ever know'

Friends of tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman (pictured) immediately paid tribute to ‘the biggest guy with the biggest heart’ and said he was ‘one of the nicest blokes I’ll ever know’ 

Whakaari also known as White Island, 48km (29mi) located off New Zealand's North Island, erupted around 2.11pm local time on Monday blowing huge plumes of smoke and debris 12,000 ft into the sky

Whakaari also known as White Island, 48km (29mi) located off New Zealand's North Island, erupted around 2.11pm local time on Monday blowing huge plumes of smoke and debris 12,000 ft into the sky

Dramatic footage shows plumes of smoke shooting up into the sky

Dramatic footage shows plumes of smoke shooting up into the sky

Whakaari also known as White Island, 48km (29mi) located off New Zealand’s North Island, erupted around 2.11pm local time on Monday blowing huge plumes of smoke and debris 12,000 ft into the sky 

At least five people died in the eruption, 18 have been rescued with injuries - including severe burns - while an estimated 27 are still missing, with rescuers unable to get on to the island

At least five people died in the eruption, 18 have been rescued with injuries - including severe burns - while an estimated 27 are still missing, with rescuers unable to get on to the island

At least five people died in the eruption, 18 have been rescued with injuries – including severe burns – while an estimated 27 are still missing, with rescuers unable to get on to the island 

Tourist Michael Schade said he and his family were on the volcano just 20 minutes before it erupted and witnessed the blast as they were leaving the island (pictured)

Tourist Michael Schade said he and his family were on the volcano just 20 minutes before it erupted and witnessed the blast as they were leaving the island (pictured)

Tourist Michael Schade said he and his family were on the volcano just 20 minutes before it erupted and witnessed the blast as they were leaving the island (pictured)

The White Island Tour operators are seen helping to rescue people from the island, about 12 to 14 minutes after the eruption

The White Island Tour operators are seen helping to rescue people from the island, about 12 to 14 minutes after the eruption

The White Island Tour operators are seen helping to rescue people from the island, about 12 to 14 minutes after the eruption

Police say that everyone who could have been taken off the island alive was saved at the time, and anyone left on the island after the initial eruption has died

Police say that everyone who could have been taken off the island alive was saved at the time, and anyone left on the island after the initial eruption has died

Police say that everyone who could have been taken off the island alive was saved at the time, and anyone left on the island after the initial eruption has died 

Tourists desperately scramble on to a boat to evacuate the island after the eruption, shortly after 2pm local time

Tourists desperately scramble on to a boat to evacuate the island after the eruption, shortly after 2pm local time

Tourists desperately scramble on to a boat to evacuate the island after the eruption, shortly after 2pm local time

One of the tour helicopters was left behind because of such low visibility after the eruption – which pushed ash and smoke into the air. Schade said the helicopters on the island ‘looked destroyed’

Just weeks before the eruption, White Island’s volcanic alert level was raised to Level 2 on a scale of zero to five, it has emerged. 

Level 2 covers ‘moderate to heightened volcanic unrest’, with warnings of ‘potential for eruption hazards’, but White Island remained open to tourists despite the increased activity. 

After the disaster, GeoNet raised its alert to Level 4, but it has since fallen back to three. 

Rescuers have so far been unable to get on to the island due to fears of landslides and further eruptions, but said a number of rescue helicopters and other aircraft had carried out aerial reconnaissance flights overnight. 

‘Police believe that anyone who could have been taken from the island alive was rescued at the time of the evacuation,’ a statement said. 

Officers said a New Zealand naval ship will approach the shore and deploy drones and ‘observational equipment’ to scour the island as soon as the sun comes up.

Tony Bonne, former mayor of the nearby town of Whakatane, said that a guide for the White Island Tours company was among those killed. This was later revealed to be Mr Marshall-Inman.  

Friends of Mr Marshall-Inman immediately paid tribute to ‘the biggest guy with the biggest heart’ and said he was ‘one of the nicest blokes I’ll ever know’. 

Another tourist recalled a happy memory of the tour guide, saying ‘his kind spirit and warmth was my favourite part of our trip to New Zealand’.  

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 24 Australians were visiting the island at the time of the disaster, while three Britons were also listed among the missing by worried family and friends on the International Committee of the Red Cross website. 

Most of the Australians caught up in the disaster are thought to have been passengers on board the Ovation of the Seas cruise liner, which departed Sydney last week. 

Speaking earlier on Monday, Ardern said there were ‘a number of tourists’ from her country and overseas on the island at the time.  

‘I know there will be a huge amount of anxiety for those who have loved ones on or around the island at the time. I can assure them police are doing everything they can,’ Ardern said. 

Royal Caribbean, owner of Ovation of the Seas, issued a statement saying the ship would stay in the nearby port of Tauranga overnight ‘until we learn more about the situation’.

White Island is New Zealand’s most active volcano and had seen its last major eruption in 2001, with smaller events over the years until now. 

Officials said it’s unlikely the volcano will erupt again in the next 24 hours but have warned people to stay away from the area.  

White Island, 48km from the Bay of Plenty region, began erupting about 2.11pm local time

White Island, 48km from the Bay of Plenty region, began erupting about 2.11pm local time

White Island, 48km from the Bay of Plenty region, began erupting about 2.11pm local time

A tour group was pictured inside the crater on a webcam at 2.10pm, just one minute before the eruption took place

A tour group was pictured inside the crater on a webcam at 2.10pm, just one minute before the eruption took place

A tour group was pictured inside the crater on a webcam at 2.10pm, just one minute before the eruption took place

Handout images from a webcam belonging to the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences shows the volcano on New Zealand's White Island spewing steam and ash

Handout images from a webcam belonging to the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences shows the volcano on New Zealand's White Island spewing steam and ash

Handout images from a webcam belonging to the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences shows the volcano on New Zealand’s White Island spewing steam and ash

An aerial view of the volcano shows thick smoke billowing from the crater, which has been a permanent feature of the island for decades

An aerial view of the volcano shows thick smoke billowing from the crater, which has been a permanent feature of the island for decades

An aerial view of the volcano shows thick smoke billowing from the crater, which has been a permanent feature of the island for decades

‘It was not a particularly big eruption, it was almost like a throat clearing eruption and that’s why material probably won’t make it to mainland New Zealand,’ Dr Ken Gledhill said.

‘We can’t be certain it won’t erupt again in the next 24 hours,’ he said.  

The island is frequently visited by tourists as part of organised boat tours from nearby Whakatane.

Geological hazard trackers GeoNet had registered moderate volcanic unrest on the island for weeks.

But the nature of volcano activity is unpredictable, with the eruption unforeseen by authorities.

A camera of the crater’s rim, run by monitoring agency GeoNet, set to take pictures every 10 minutes showed a string of people visiting the crater at 2.10pm.

The next shot taken, at 2.20pm, was unreadable as the blast had rendered the camera inoperable.

St John has dispatched seven helicopters to the island, but they are unable to land.

‘We are taking expert advice with regard to conditions to determine when we can safely access the island,’ a police statement read.

‘We can confirm there has been one fatality, and based on the information we have it is likely there are others.’

Police did not advise of any further information of the deceased person.  

‘Of those transported to shore, at least one has been critically injured,’ a spokesman said. 

‘Emergency services are working to ensure the safety of everyone involved, including rescue staff.’

Most people who have been rescued from the island suffered various stages of burns. 

‘A disaster waiting to happen’: Experts say tourist trips to White Island volcano were ‘too dangerous’

White Island was always ‘too dangerous’ for the number of tourists visiting the island, experts have said, as they warned of risks of further blasts and landslides.

Emeritus Professor Ray Cas, from Monash University, branded the island – also known by its Maori name Whakaari – ‘a disaster waiting to happen for many years’.

‘I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter,’ he said. 

In 1914, a small mining community on the island was wiped out after falling rocks weakened by the island’s volcanic activity swept through the village. 

The violent volcanic eruption on New Zealand's white Island was caused because ocean crust is being subducted (pictured, the series of events leading to the spontaneous eruption).  This constant movement means sudden explosions can occur at any moment

The violent volcanic eruption on New Zealand's white Island was caused because ocean crust is being subducted (pictured, the series of events leading to the spontaneous eruption).  This constant movement means sudden explosions can occur at any moment

The violent volcanic eruption on New Zealand’s white Island was caused because ocean crust is being subducted (pictured, the series of events leading to the spontaneous eruption).  This constant movement means sudden explosions can occur at any moment 

Mining activity was subsequently banned and the island has been uninhabited now for more than a century, but is a hotspot for tourists hoping to get close to an active volcano.

Large volcanic events such as the White Island eruption can often cause subsequent disasters.

GeoNet, New Zealand’s geological hazard information centre, describes White Island as New Zealand’s most active cone volcano. Only the top is visible, with around 80 per cent of it underwater.

Rescuers have been unable to visit the island in the wake of the disaster in order to search for survivors and victims, saying it is still too dangerous.

Explaining the dangers, Chris Elders, professor of Geology at Curtin University’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, told MailOnline: ‘This may be a combination of the ash in the atmosphere that would affect any helicopters.

‘Also, when you get an eruption like this, the ash deposits very quickly and creates rocks which are extremely unstable.

‘Any rainfall, which can be triggered by the ash sent into the atmosphere, could cause a landslide if the unstable rocks come loose.’

Emergency services attend to an injured person arriving at the Whakatane Airfield after the volcanic eruption

Emergency services attend to an injured person arriving at the Whakatane Airfield after the volcanic eruption

Emergency services attend to an injured person arriving at the Whakatane Airfield after the volcanic eruption

A person wrapped in a blanket is comforted by emergency services personnel following an eruption of the White Island volcano

A person wrapped in a blanket is comforted by emergency services personnel following an eruption of the White Island volcano

A person wrapped in a blanket is comforted by emergency services personnel following an eruption of the White Island volcano

Emergency services attend to an injured person arriving at the Whakatane Airfield after the volcanic eruption

Emergency services attend to an injured person arriving at the Whakatane Airfield after the volcanic eruption

Emergency services attend to an injured person arriving at the Whakatane Airfield after the volcanic eruption

A rescue operation is currently underway to save people who were pictured inside the crater at 2.10pm, just moments before the explosion, on the White Island Crater Rim camera. 

Other shots from the camera, displayed online every 10 minutes, showed the blast before the camera went black. 

A second, slightly smaller eruption went off at 3.45pm, according to local fishermen. 

Tourist Michael Schade said he and his family were on the volcano just 20 minutes before it erupted and witnessed the blast as they were leaving the island. 

‘This is so hard to believe. Our whole tour group were literally standing at the edge of the main crater not 30 minutes before. My thoughts with the families of those currently unaccounted for, the people recovering now, and especially the rescue workers,’ he said on Twitter. 

‘My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable.

‘Praying for them and their recovery. Woman my mom tended to was in critical condition but seemed strong by the end. The helicopters on the island looked destroyed. 

Allessandro Kauffmann, a Brazilian tourist who was in the first tour group for the morning said his group left the island ‘just in time’.

‘Some people have extensive burns on their bodies. Two tours on the volcano. Ours was the first. The other one right after. We left the island and wasn’t even five minutes before it erupted. This other tour that arrived after couldn’t leave in time,’ he said in an Instagram post.

Coastguard rescue boats are pictured alongside the marina near Whakatane on Monday

Coastguard rescue boats are pictured alongside the marina near Whakatane on Monday

Coastguard rescue boats are pictured alongside the marina near Whakatane on Monday 

Coastguard rescue boats are pictured alongside the marina near Whakatane, where the injured were brought following the volcanic eruption

Coastguard rescue boats are pictured alongside the marina near Whakatane, where the injured were brought following the volcanic eruption

Coastguard rescue boats are pictured alongside the marina near Whakatane, where the injured were brought following the volcanic eruption

Newlyweds, a family-of-four and six children are among over 20 Australian tourists feared missing after New Zealand’s volcano catastrophe – with death toll expected to rise above 30 as search teams find ‘no signs of life’

By Karen Ruiz for Daily Mail Australia 

More than 20 Australians including a Sydney family-of-four and a newlywed couple are listed as missing by the New Zealand Red Cross in the wake of the deadly White Island volcano eruption. 

Five people have been confirmed dead and dozens were still unaccounted for as of early Tuesday after the volcano exploded shortly after 2pm local time on Monday. 

An estimated 50 tourists – from New Zealand and overseas – were on or around the crater, located off the coast of the North Island, at the time of the blast. 

Eighteen survivors were evacuated – some suffering severe burns – leaving an estimated 27 people unaccounted for. 

Police say the number of missing is in double figures – and that they do not expect to find any further survivors.

Names of those still unaccounted for have been listed by concerned family members on the Restoring Family Links website. The website is not an official missing persons list.

Newly-wed couple James, 23, and Madeleine Whitehouse, 24, from Brisbane, were listed as missing as of early Tuesday morning, according to a list compiled by concerned family members on the Red Cross website

Newly-wed couple James, 23, and Madeleine Whitehouse, 24, from Brisbane, were listed as missing as of early Tuesday morning, according to a list compiled by concerned family members on the Red Cross website

Newly-wed couple James, 23, and Madeleine Whitehouse, 24, from Brisbane, were listed as missing as of early Tuesday morning, according to a list compiled by concerned family members on the Red Cross website 

Amy Miall, 30, from Brisbane, and partner Mathew Thomas (pictured) 31, from Tamsworth, are still unaccounted for

Amy Miall, 30, from Brisbane, and partner Mathew Thomas (pictured) 31, from Tamsworth, are still unaccounted for

Amy Miall, 30, from Brisbane, and partner Mathew Thomas (pictured) 31, from Tamsworth, are still unaccounted for 

Among the Australians listed as missing are North Sydney family-of-four, parents Anthony, 51, and Kristine Langford, and their two teenage children Jesse, 19, and Winona, 17. 

Newlywed couple James, 23, and Madeleine Whitehouse, 24, from Brisbane, were also listed as missing as of early Tuesday morning. 

According to social media, the couple had married last September and had been on holiday in New Zealand.

Other Australians on the missing list include Amy Miall, 30, from Brisbane, Mathew Thomas, 31, from Tamsworth, Richard Aaron Elzer, 32, and Jason Griffiths, 33, from Coffs Harbour, and Jane Murray, 56, from Sydney. 

A 12-year-old boy from Western Australia and seven-year-old the youngest still unaccounted for, according to the site.  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed 24 Australians were visiting the island as part of a cruise ship tour group on Monday.  

AFP are working with New Zealand counterparts to confirm information on the well-being of those involved, Mr Morrison said.

‘We have so far been able to identify a number of Australians who have been hospitalised and will we working further on this through the night,’ the prime minister said.     

Among those listed as missing is North Sydney family of four, parents Anthony, 51, and Kristine Langford (pictured) and their two teenage children

Among those listed as missing is North Sydney family of four, parents Anthony, 51, and Kristine Langford (pictured) and their two teenage children

Among those listed as missing is North Sydney family of four, parents Anthony, 51, and Kristine Langford (pictured) and their two teenage children 

Jesse Langford, 19

Jesse Langford, 19

Winona Langford, 17

Winona Langford, 17

Siblings Jesse Langford (left) 19, and Winona Langford, 17, were believed to be on holiday with their family

Jason Griffiths (pictured) 33, from Coffs Harbour, NSW, was listed as missing as of early Tuesday

Jason Griffiths (pictured) 33, from Coffs Harbour, NSW, was listed as missing as of early Tuesday

Jason Griffiths (pictured) 33, from Coffs Harbour, NSW, was listed as missing as of early Tuesday

New Zealand officials said early Tuesday morning that ‘no signs of life have been seen at any point’, meaning the death toll could be as high as 32. 

Three Britons are believed to be among those still missing.

Speaking earlier on Monday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there were ‘a number of tourists’ from her country and overseas on the island at the time.  

‘I know there will be a huge amount of anxiety for those who have loved ones on or around the island at the time. I can assure them police are doing everything they can,’ Ardern said.

Ardern and Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare travelled to the nearby Whakatane on Monday night. 

An estimated 50 tourists - from New Zealand and overseas - were on or around the crater, located off the coast of the North Island, at the time of the blast

An estimated 50 tourists - from New Zealand and overseas - were on or around the crater, located off the coast of the North Island, at the time of the blast

An estimated 50 tourists – from New Zealand and overseas – were on or around the crater, located off the coast of the North Island, at the time of the blast

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed 24 Australians were visiting the island as part of a cruise ship tour group on Monday

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed 24 Australians were visiting the island as part of a cruise ship tour group on Monday

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed 24 Australians were visiting the island as part of a cruise ship tour group on Monday

National Operation Commander Deputy Commissioner John Tims on Monday confirmed five people have died and multiple people were taken to hospital with burns, with the death toll expected to rise.   

‘I can confirm there are five people now deceased from the eruption on White Island,’ Mr Tims told reporters on Monday evening. 

‘A number of other people have been taken to a hospital. A number of people have burns as a result of the eruption. It is still too early for police to confirm how many people are involved.’  

Authorities are yet to confirm the nationalities of the victims or if there are still survivors because they had been unable to establish communication with anyone on the island on Monday.

‘There are possibilities of further eruptions. The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island. It is important that we consider the health and safety of those that are going to rescue those on the island. So we will be taking that advice,’ Mr Tims said. 

White Island is New Zealand’s most active volcano and had seen its last major eruption in 2001, with smaller events over the years until now.  

The island is frequently visited by tourists as part of organised boat tours from nearby Whakatane.

Geological hazard trackers GeoNet had registered moderate volcanic unrest on the island for weeks.

But the nature of volcano activity is unpredictable, with the eruption unforeseen by authorities.

A camera of the crater’s rim, run by monitoring agency GeoNet, set to take pictures every 10 minutes showed a string of people visiting the crater at 2.10pm.

The next shot taken, at 2.20pm, was unreadable as the blast had rendered the camera inoperable. 

‘Some people have serious burns. We had to stay to help those people who were on the island. The boat from this other tour was covered in ash from the volcano. Very tense talking about this. We just have to hope that all is as well as can be.’

Tourists from cruise liner Ovation of the Seas were visiting the island on Monday morning, according to the company’s chief executive Mark Cairns.

He said the majority of those injured in the eruption are from the ship.

Judy Turner, the Mayor of Whakatane also confirmed tourists on the island had been injured in the blast.

A spokeswoman for Tourism Bay of Plenty said Volcanic Helicopters and one boat have still not been accounted for. 

A White Island Tours boat carrying visitors was also close to the island, which is 48kms from the Bay of Plenty. 

Calvin Kingi, who works for the tour company, posted on Facebook saying his group got out just in time.

‘White Island just erupted as we left, we have our work mates and a tour still on the island, I hope they okay,’ he wrote. 

An emergency operation centre has reportedly been established at Whakatane Hospital. 

A Westpac Rescue helicopter has reportedly been tasked with transporting blood from Auckland hospital to Whakatane.

Family members of people who were on the island at the time are slowly arriving on the wharf and waiting for any updates, according to local media. 

Seven rescue helicopters have been trying to get to the island while others situated nearby are on standby.

Thick, black plumes of smoke are still filling the sky around the island.

Warnings ignored: How persistent tourists travelled to the active volcano against expert advice 

By Charlie Moore for Daily Mail Australia

Tourists have been travelling to White Island for years despite warnings from scientists that it could erupt at any time.

Between 2011 and 2016 the volcano to the north of New Zealand’s north island – which erupted on Monday – had a period of increased activity but still boatloads of tourists arrived.

Volcanologists at the time refused to step foot on the island because it was too dangerous and warned tourists not to go – but still the boats kept landing.

An aerial view of the volcano, which is currently the most active in New Zealand and erupted in 2016 and 2012 before today

An aerial view of the volcano, which is currently the most active in New Zealand and erupted in 2016 and 2012 before today

An aerial view of the volcano, which is currently the most active in New Zealand and erupted in 2016 and 2012 before today

In recent weeks the volcano has been going through another period of activity but tourism was not stopped.

Last month monitoring outfit GNS Science raised the alert level for the volcano to level two because of increase activity.

‘Volcanic unrest continues at Whakaari/White Island and some monitored parameters show further increases in activity,’ the agency said.

‘Hazards on the island are now greater than during the past few weeks.

‘The patterns of signals are similar to those through the 2011 – 2016 period and suggest that Whakaari/White Island may be entering a period where eruptive activity is more likely than normal.’

The Volcanic Alert Level was raised to four at the time of the explosion – the second highest warning level and considered to be a ‘moderate eruption – but is now at three. 

Prime Minster Scott Morrison confirms Australians have been caught up in New Zealand volcano horror

A terrible tragedy is unfolding in New Zealand after the volcano eruption on Whakaari/White Island.

Australians have been caught up in this terrible event and we are working to determine their wellbeing.

I have been in touch with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to offer our full support with whatever they need and our authorities are working closely together. 

I will be staying in direct contact as events continue to unfold. 

We will provide updates once they are confirmed and are available.

 

There is a ‘possibility of a very large eruption’ under the level four coding, as well as a further chance of a flank eruption, which is when simultaneous explosions occur around the volcano rather than from the summit alone.

Whakaari is New Zealand’s only active marine volcano, and is also the nation’s most active, with regular eruptions since 2012.

The most recent eruption prior to today was minor, and occurred in 2016.

At least 70 per cent of the volcano is under sea level, and a single crater makes up most of the island, which is frequently visited by tourists. 

Geological hazard trackers GeoNet had registered moderate volcanic unrest on the island for weeks, before the eruption began at 12:10pm AEDT. 

GNS Science said they are still monitoring conditions on the island and there had been a ‘steady decline in activity, [though] there remains significant uncertainty.’ 

‘Currently there are no signs of further eruptions, but we will continue to closely monitor Whakaari/White Island for further signs of activity.’

The local council says New Zealand Police and Bay of Plenty Civil Defence are working together to respond. 

Pictured: An abandoned sulphur factory on the island, which is known for its frequent explosions

Pictured: An abandoned sulphur factory on the island, which is known for its frequent explosions

Pictured: An abandoned sulphur factory on the island which tourists often explore

Pictured: An abandoned sulphur factory on the island which tourists often explore

Pictured: An abandoned sulphur factory on the island, which is known for its frequent explosions

The deadliest volcanic eruptions in the last 25 years

New Zealand, struck by a deadly volcanic eruption Monday, lies in a zone where Earth’s tectonic plates collide, making it a hotspot for earthquakes and volcanic activity.

In one of its worst natural disasters, a huge mass of volcanic debris from the eruption of Mount Ruapehu triggered a mudslide in 1953 that washed away a bridge and caused a passenger train to plunge into a river with the loss of 151 lives.

After Monday’s eruption on New Zealand’s White Island, here is a recap of some of the deadliest volcanic eruptions around the world in the past 25 years.

– 2018: Indonesia –

In December the Anak Krakatoa volcano, a small island in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, erupts and a section of its crater collapses, sliding into the ocean and generating a tsunami. More than 420 people are killed and 7,200 wounded.

Anak Krakatoa, meaning 'Child of Krakatoa', erupted off the coast of Indonesia in 2018 - triggering an underwater landslide and 20ft tsunami that killed more than 420 people as it swept ashore

Anak Krakatoa, meaning 'Child of Krakatoa', erupted off the coast of Indonesia in 2018 - triggering an underwater landslide and 20ft tsunami that killed more than 420 people as it swept ashore

Anak Krakatoa, meaning ‘Child of Krakatoa’, erupted off the coast of Indonesia in 2018 – triggering an underwater landslide and 20ft tsunami that killed more than 420 people as it swept ashore

– 2018: Guatemala –

The June eruption of the Fuego volcano, about 35 kilometres (22 miles) from the capital, unleashes a torrent of mud and ash that wipes the village of San Miguel Los Lotes from the map. More than 200 people are killed.

– 2014: Japan –

The sudden eruption in September of Mount Ontake, in the central Nagano region, kills more than 60 people in Japan’s worst volcanic disaster in nearly 90 years. The mountain is packed with hikers at the time. In 1991 an eruption of the southwestern Unzen volcano kills 43.

– 2014: Indonesia –

At least 16 people are killed on the island of Sumatra in February by a spectacular eruption of Mount Sinabung, which had lain dormant for 400 years before roaring back to life five months earlier. In 2016 villages are scorched and farmland devastated after another eruption kills seven.

– 2010: Indonesia –

Indonesia’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi on Java island, starts a series of explosions in October, eventually killing more than 320 people. An 1930 eruption of the volcano killed 1,300 people and one in 1994 claimed more than 60 lives.

– 2002: DR Congo –

The eruption in July of Mount Nyiragongo in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo destroys the centre of Goma town, along with several residential areas, and kills more than 100 people.

The Roman city of Pompeii was wiped off the map when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD, burying it under piles of hot ash

The Roman city of Pompeii was wiped off the map when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD, burying it under piles of hot ash

The Roman city of Pompeii was wiped off the map when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD, burying it under piles of hot ash

– 1997: Montserrat –

The capital of the small British colony, Plymouth, is wiped off the map and 20 are killed or left missing in avalanches of hot rock and ash clouds when the Montserrat volcano erupts in June.

– 1995: The Philippines –

At least 70 are killed and another 30 missing after the crater of the Parker volcano in the south of the island of Mindanao collapses. Five years earlier the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, 80 kilometres north of the capital Manila, kills more than 800 people.

– Worst ever –

The explosion of Indonesia’s Krakatoa volcano in 1883 is considered the worst ever seen. The eruption sent a jet of ash, stones and smoke shooting more than 20 kilometres (12 miles) into the sky, plunging the region into darkness, and sparking a huge tsunami that was felt around the world. The disaster killed more than 36,000 people.

The most famous eruption in history is that of Mount Vesuvius in modern-day Italy in 79 AD, which destroyed the towns of Herculaneum, Stabiae and Pompeii, wiping out an estimated 10 percent of the population of the three cities.

 

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Labour activist wrongly accused of punching Tory adviser

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Labour activist wrongly accused of punching Tory adviser
Matt Hancock’s adviser clearly walked into the Labour activist’s arm, despite claims of a punch

A Labour activist has been wrongly accused of punching an aide to Matt Hancock – when footage clearly shows the adviser accidentally walking into his arm.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care was on a visit to Leeds General Infirmary in a bid to address the picture of Jack Williment-Barr when he was met by a protesters.

A group crowded around the car, telling him ‘we do not want you in this country, we do not want you in this hospital’ before he drove off.

It was reported that things ‘turned nasty’ when a protester ‘hit one of Mr Hancock’s senior advisers’ said to be Jamie Njoku-Goodwin.

The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg tweeted: ‘So Matt Hancock was despatched to Leeds General (sorry not just Leeds Hospital), to try to sort out mess, heading Labour activists scrambled to go + protests, and it turned nasty when they arrived – one of them punched Hancock’s adviser’.

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ITV’s Robert Peston added that he had been told by ‘senior Tories’ that the aide had been ‘whacked’.

There was also speculation online that the police may have been called to the incident.

However, footage shows that no punch happened.

The protester is instead captured shouting ‘these people have devastated our country’ and waving his finger in the air on the street outside the hospital.

The Tory aide, wearing a black suit jacket, then walks into his arm by accident.

He looks back for a moment after his head is bashed and then walks on.

Those who alleged a more serious incident had occurred have now apologised for their mistake.

Ms Kuenssberg wrote: ‘Have video from Hancock leaving Leeds General just come through so you can see for yourself – doesn’t look like punch thrown, rather, one of Tory team walks into protestor’s arm, pretty grim encounter’.

She later added: ‘Happy to apologise for earlier confusion about the punch that wasn’t a punch outside Leeds General – 2 sources suggested it had happened but clear from video that was wrong’.

Labour activist wrongly accused of punching Matt Hancock's adviser No permission - editorial decision to run https://twitter.com/bbclaurak/status/1204091610843226112 No credit
The Labour activist is seen waving his finger as he yells
Labour activist wrongly accused of punching Matt Hancock's adviser No permission - editorial decision to run https://twitter.com/bbclaurak/status/1204091610843226112 No credit
The aide then walks into his hand with no punch thrown

Mr Peston also tweeted saying: It is completely clear from video footage that @MattHancock‘s adviser was not whacked by a protestor, as I was told by senior Tories, but that he inadvertently walked into a protestor’s hand.

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‘I apologise for getting this wrong.’

After the video was posted online, many people were left angry at claims that there had been a punch.

Matthew Thompson wrote: ‘Far from a punch of any kind, this would appear to show Hancock’s advisor walking into the outstretched hand of an activist.

‘Rather different from the way it was initially spun to journalists.’

George Aylett added: ‘Many media outlets said that Matt Hancock‘s special adviser was ‘punched’ at Leeds hospital.

‘You can see what actually happened 36 seconds in. No punch. Shame on @Peston and others.

‘Now let’s talk about the 4 year old who was forced to sleep on the floor of an A&E department.’

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Source: Metro News

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